The West team took the win in the 93rd annual Shrine Game to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children, 17-13 on Saturday evening in front of a crowd of 21,703 at Tropicana Field.
The West team scored first on a 68 yard fumble return by Wisconsin safety, Nattrell Jamerson with just under three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Ohio State quarterback, J.T. Barrett, was sacked by Delaware defensive tackle, Bilal Nichols, who forced the fumble on the West 17 yard line. West had been in scoring position on an earlier drive, but Kansas State kicker, Matthew McCrane missed the 41 yard field goal attempt.
Nebraska kicker, Drew Brown, would not miss his chance to shine, putting the East team on the board with a 33 yard field goal with three seconds to go before halftime. At the break, West led, 7-3.
In the second half, it was East team who scored first. Slippery Rock’s Marcus Martin scored a touchdown on a four yard pass from J.T. Barrett of Ohio State. Martin, 6-2, 255, was listed as an East team substitute at defensive end. With less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter, East led 10-7.
West team would have the last word, however. With just over a minute left in the game trailing by three, Texas Tech quarterback, Nic Shimonek, connected with Houston receiver, Steven Dunbar, for one of the rare big plays of the game, a 34 yard touchdown catch and run to go up 14-10 and win the game.
Four USF players had accepted invitations to play in the game, but none were listed as starters. Former Bulls quarterback, Quinton Flowers, was a late scratch due to a death in the family. D’Ernest Johnson had a solid performance off the bench, running for 31 yards on six attempts with a long of 16 yards. He was also one of two return men for the East, returning a kickoff 27 yards and a punt five yards. Incidentally, Johnson’s big 16 yard run came on the drive where Barrett turned the ball over. The running backs were taking turns on alternating drives, so that fumble may have cost him a chance to shine.
On defense, Deadrin Senat and Deatrick Nichols were in attendance. Senat was on the sideline, but out due to injury. Nichols looked good in limited action, making a few tackles and flying to the ball.
Jamerson was named Defensive MVP for his fumble return for a touchdown. Daurice Fountain of Northern Iowa was named Offensive MVP for catching three passes for 61 total yards, an average of over 20 yards per catch. He also returned two punts for 40 yards.